IF THE RESULT IS A GRETA SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS DANCE, THAT'S TOO HIGH A PRICE TO PAY (and other reasons I'm not crying over Louis C.K.'s cancellation)
This is the kind of post I write knowing I'll get nothing but criticism for it, but here goes.
Louis C.K. was going to host the Radio and Television Correspondents' Dinner until Fox's Greta van Susteren called for a boycott. Now he's decided to bow out.
Here's the thing: I despise Sarah Palin with every fiber of my being -- in the past 48 hours she's added "racist" to the list of insults that can reasonably be applied to her -- but I have a problem with insults of her that are purely generic hate-words based on nothing more than her gender. Call her stupid and that's fine with me. Call her a demagogue or a quitter or a grifter or a shallow craver of the spotlight and I'm right there with you. All those are based on what she does. They're not based on the apportionment of her sex chromosomes, an apportionment she shares with half the human race (the fucked-over half).
Let me put it another way. Even if you love Seinfeld, you found that racist tirade by Michael Richards on a stand-up stage in 2006 pretty appalling, right? And even if you're a 30 Rock fan, Tracy Morgan's anti-gay rant was way over the line, right? Well, that's how I feel about Louis C.K.'s Palin tweets -- and before you fire off your disgusted comments about what I'm saying, I'll try to answer most of them preemptively below.
I know it was a few fleeting drunken comments that were made about a public figure -- it wasn't, y'know, a deliberate multi-day slanderous repeat assault on someone who merely sought to testify in front of Congress. But is that the standard? Everything that doesn't rise to the level of Limbaugh's sadistic assault is harmless? I absolutely agree that it's not as reprehensible, but it's not harmless.
And the issue of public figure vs. private citizen is absolutely significant, but if the words are generic, and we let those words slide because they're used to attack Sarah Palin, that helps make them available to attack the next Sandra Fluke. Everything Louis C.K. says about Palin could be said about any woman -- so if you don't say those particular lines of attack are universally off-limits, you're implicitly giving Limbaugh, or the next Limbaugh, permission to say similar things.
And no, I'm not saying that Louis C.K.'s insults need to result in a career death penalty -- but I think a little more contrition might be nice. (Scroll down here to see what he thinks about what he said.)
My final point is that if people who detest the right keep the attacks out of this realm, the likes of Greta van Susteren are deprived of the opportunity to play the self-righteousness card. Why would you not want to keep that weapon out of the right's hands?
OK, fire away.